Sip Your Way Through the Monticello Wine Trail in Charlottesville, Virginia

Many people associate Virginia鈥檚 Charlottesville area with historic attractions like Thomas Jefferson鈥檚 Monticello, the UNESCO World Heritage site prominently featured on the back of the U.S. nickel. But insiders know that Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia are also home to renowned wines.

Each year, the Monticello Wine Trail, a route that connects the 40-plus wineries throughout the Charlottesville area, becomes more established. Why? Because it’s producing world-class wines that garner global attention.

Situated at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this area of Virginia is a two-hour drive southwest of Washington, D.C. And though Jefferson himself attempted to grow his own grapes here hundreds of years ago, it wasn鈥檛 until recently that these efforts were successful. The terroir in the Charlottesville area is suited to growing a variety of grapes, and the resulting wines are earning regional, national and international accolades.

The wineries are attractions unto themselves, spanning the tropical conservatory at Glass House Winery to the destination-worthy Chardonnays at Blenheim Vineyards, owned and operated by none other than Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band. Travelers can enjoy intimate tastings at one of the many boutique wineries that dot the landscape, or sip glasses at larger operations like Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and King Family Vineyards, all of which offer epic views of the surrounding mountains.

Those who like to pair their wine with a side of outdoor adventure can arrange an unforgettable horseback ride through the luscious vines. Others can cruise in style on four wheels courtesy of the area鈥檚 many transportation companies, which happily plan itineraries and provide transport, so all that鈥檚 left for travelers to do is sit back, sip, and relax. Anyone visiting multiple wineries will want to check out the Monticello Wine Trail Digital Passport, which offers a prize after visitors check in at 10 participating wineries.

A top culinary destination, the Charlottesville area has farm-to-table restaurants at every turn. Plus, the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall has dozens of restaurants with patio dining, cafes, boutique shops and entertainment venues like the Paramount Theater or the Ting Pavilion. There鈥檚 a variety of places to stay including resorts, inns, bed and breakfasts, chain hotels and vacation rentals, all of which provide hubs for travelers seeking wine-filled adventures in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Ready to start planning your trip? Check out visitcharlottesville.org.

Published on June 9, 2022